The Vancouver Learning Centre
a Transformative Partnership for Students with Academic Underachievement
The Vancouver Learning Centre is a seasoned full service, full or part time educational experience in a safe, vibrant learning environment. We have four decades of experience in delivering outstanding, transformative outcomes to sudents with learning differences.
The Vancouver Learning Centre is Unique
We enter into creatively designed, team-based, one-to-one learning partnerships with each learner.
Each individualized program is anchored in the science of neuroplasticity where effective brain function, applied to academic tasks, to emotional strength, and to strong executive function is optimized with targeted intervention to deliver outstanding personal best performances.
In these stressful times, the VLC’s focus on the importance of people — students, parents and teachers — is more important than ever.
The VLC is exceptional in its experienced, specially trained faculty.
Dr. Gerri Schwartz is the VLC’s senior psychologist and founder. She has decades of direct clinical experience in assessment and especially in the creative design and supervision of the programs that emerge from the two disciplines she represents—Education and Psychology.
A teacher herself with long-term classroom experience, she trains each faculty member and continues ongoing professional development to take advantage of the new emerging knowledge in the field of neuroscience.
Andrew Taylor is the VLC’s Principal and Head Teacher. He has a very special natural talent as teacher, coach and mentor to the VLC faculty and students.
Andrew has two decades of experience in teaching and creating the personal best outcomes we see at the VLC. He leads the VLC teams of teachers as we craft and sensitively deliver each individualized program.
COVID-19 Academic Slide
Parents Alert: All students are included in this warning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the education and learning mastery of children, youth and young adults. Scientists and educators are raising the alarm that for some learners the deficit in skills and knowledge that occurred during the COVID-19 in-class disruption of education could become a life-lasting problem.
They raise further concerns that learners with special needs across the whole spectrum from learning disabled…to autistic…to gifted, may be the most seriously affected.
You may know that each grade level from Kindergarten to grade 12 has specific curriculum in skills and knowledge that are delivered as routine. Students succeed as they meet mastery expectations of these skills. The next grade platform is based on the assumption of this mastery and the teachers proceed to teach the curriculum of the next grade from that point.
These new concepts and skills are generally taught over the fall and winter semesters and consolidated in the third semester. Students who do not take part in education and cognitive activities over the summer break, experience what is called the ‘summer slide’, where they lose two to three months of the previous grade’s skills as they start the first semester of the next grade.
Most students catch up with a quick review but students with learning differences who are slow to consolidate new skills and have built-in deficits from previous grades, struggle to achieve the expected mastery. They develop gaps in basic steps and structure that continue to haunt them throughout school and beyond. This year the problem is exacerbated since many students have not learned the skill in the first place.
For almost 18 months, regular routine educational delivery of learning may not have taken place, and mastery of virtual screen-based learning has been variable, so that it is not clear whether the skills of the previous grade are at mastery before the next grade level curriculum is taught.
When students present themselves with skills as much as 1.5 – 2 years behind the platform they need to master the skills of their next grade, a serious education delivery challenge will occur to in-class based learning, and teachers in every classroom so affected will face difficulties they have not previously seen or have been trained to address.
In addition to educational factors, students have missed close emotional and social experiences with their classmates, cognitive development in thinking, routine practice in focus and attention, and after school extracurricular activities in sports and the arts. This too produces profound effects whose scope is still unknown as this cohort returns to school. Of course, the effect will be variable and the whole range of outcomes can be expected. These too are still unknown.
Special attention for ‘special needs’ students need to be set up for children whose learning differences put them at a particular disadvantage.
The VLC Advantage
At the Vancouver Learning Centre, onsite or online, a specially trained faculty experienced in ‘catch-up’ teaching throughout grades K-12, will be delivering a one-to-one robust post-COVID-19 pandemic response. A special program has been put in place called the Three Pillar Strategy to provide new skills in thinking and meeting challenges in learning called enhanced thinking. The VLC advantage begins with a full skill-by-skill grade by grade academic survey to determine what essential academic skills are not in place to mastery levels for the grade. Teaching these skills and filling in the gaps in learning will become the individual’s program priority. Then the Three Pillar Strategy, the teaching of enhanced thinking skills, Executive Function, Emotional Development, and Creative Thinking are integrated into each individualized program.
Three Pillar Strategy
In these stressful times, new learning issues are emerging that need urgent attention.
In response, the VLC is introducing three new exciting programs that will be integrated into each individualized program using the Three Pillar Strategy to optimize personal best outcomes.
The emergence of human ability to think flexibly:
- to reason in an abstract manner,
- to organize,
- to plan ahead,
- to initiate,
- to adapt,
- to solve problems,
- to apply new learning to novel tasks
This forms the overarching network of skills needed for excellence in learning and thinking across the broad array of cognitive, academic and emotional performances.
Emotional Intelligence is the essential ability, a skill, and behaviour that allows one to tap into the emotional framework, signals, and cues of our lives. It opens our awareness to our own feelings and to the feelings of others. It encourages empathy, compassion, and kindness. It expresses our noble qualities of integrity, decency, honesty, kindness and striving beyond ego for a good outcome for others as well as oneself.
High order Emotional Intelligence creates social success in our relationships and interactions. It provides the motivation (the ‘juice’) for excellence in performance of all kinds.
It is the critical component for academic and life success.
Creative Thinking creates an array of possibilities for each learner to move beyond the margins of the tasks given through their own curiosity, passion and talent. At the Vancouver Learning Centre, we teach THINKERCISE through proprietary methods that leads to the application of creative thinking to academic and life tasks. This can be transformative in achieving outstanding outcomes.
These robust life-lasting skills in the approach to problem-solving and learning challenges will provide VLC students with a unique toolkit for future success.